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How Long to Cook a 10 Pound Pork Shoulder (3 Ways)

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New to cooking pork shoulder? Our guide simplifies the process, offering easy-to-follow instructions for how long it takes to smoke, oven roast, and slow cook a 10 pound pork shoulder, ensuring juicy, flavorful results every time.

Mastering the art of smoking a bone-in pork shoulder requires understanding the nuances of timing, temperature, and technique. If it’s your first time, you may be wondering, how long to cook a 10 lb pork shoulder. The cook time can vary depending on how you cook it and the temperature. Be sure to check out our pork shoulder recipe. It uses simple ingredients and the dry rub is the best part! 

How Long Does it Take to Cook a 10-Pound Pork shoulder?

  • Smoking: Smoking a bone-in pork shoulder can take all day due to the low cooking temperature. We estimate about 45 minutes to 1 hour per pound at a smoking temperature of around 275°F. So, for a 10 lb pork shoulder, it could take anywhere from 7.5 to 10 hours to smoke. Scroll down for a helpful conversion chart!
  • Oven Roasting: A slow-roasted pork shoulder can be cooked in a roasting pan at 325°F (163°C) for about 25-30 minutes per pound, so for a 10 lb pork shoulder, that would be about 4 to 5 hours to cook in the oven. Resist the urge to cook it at a high temperature!
  • Slow Cooker: For a 10 lb pork shoulder, it could take anywhere from 8-10 hours on Low in your slow cooker.

Always use a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches 205°F. At this low temperature, it will have crispy skin and be tender and easily shred with a fork.

Regardless of the method you choose, or how long it takes, always allow it to rest at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before pulling the meat or shredding to allow the juices to redistribute evenly. You will achieve delicious results every time!

Cooking Pork Shoulder

A pork shoulder is a cut of meat also known as pork butt or Boston butt. This flavorful cut of pork comes from the upper part of the pig’s shoulder. It contains a good amount of marbling and connective tissue, which makes it ideal for slow cooking methods like smoking or roasting.

The average size of a bone-in pork shoulder, also known as pork butt or Boston butt, typically falls within the range of 7 to 10 pounds. When properly cooked, the pork transforms into succulent, fall-apart tender meat with a nice crust, perfect for pulled pork sandwiches, pork nachos, tacos, or enjoyed on its own with a side of barbecue sauce.

Again, it’s important to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches at least 205°F for optimal flavor and texture. This is a higher temperature than the USDA safety guidelines for pork because you want the meat to be tender.

Estimating Cooking Time on a Smoker

How long it takes to cook a 10 lb pork shoulder on the smoker can vary depending on several factors, including the smoker’s temperature and outdoor conditions.

As a general rule of thumb, plan for approximately 1.25 to 1.5 hours of smoking time per pound of pork shoulder. For a 10 pound pork shoulder, this translates to roughly 12 to 15 hours on the smoker.

Note that these are just estimates, and the most accurate way to determine doneness is by using a meat thermometer.

Conversion Chart for Smoking a 10 Pound Pork Shoulder

Note: These times are estimates and may vary based on factors such as smoker temperature and weather conditions.

How to Know When Your Pork Shoulder is Done Smoking

The best way to test for doneness is by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part, avoiding contact with the bone or fat. When the pork shoulder reaches an internal temp of around 205°F (96°C), it should be tender and ready to be enjoyed. The meat should probe like soft butter, indicating that it’s fully cooked.

Resting and Serving

Once meat shoulder reaches the desired temperature, carefully remove it from the smoker and transfer it to a clean cutting board or serving platter. For the best results, tent loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes. Resting allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat, ensuring a moist and flavorful final product.

Smoking Tips & Tricks

  • Position shoulder on the smoker grate, fat cap side up, to allow the rendered fat to baste the meat as it cooks.
  • Once pork shoulder is in the smoker, resist the urge to constantly open the lid. Every time you open the lid, you risk losing heat and smoke, which can prolong the cooking time and compromise the final result.
  • Trust in the process and monitor the smoker’s temperature using a reliable thermometer. Aim to maintain a consistent temperature range of 225-250°F (107-121°C) throughout the cooking process.

Summary

Smoking a 10 lb pork shoulder is a slow process and labor of love. By understanding the fundamentals of smoking, mastering temperature control, and respecting the cooking process, you can achieve barbecue perfection in your backyard! Grab your favorite spice rub and bbq sauce and get cooking!

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Smoked Pork Shoulder

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1216 servings 1x
  • Category: main course, dinner
  • Method: smoking
  • Cuisine: american, barbecue, southern

Description

This recipe features a 10 pound pork shoulder cooked with cherry wood and doused in flavorful mop sauce.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 10-pound bone-in pork butt 
  • yellow mustard
  • Soul Dust soul food seasoning (alternatively, use your favorite BBQ dry rub)
  • cherry wood, for smoking (preferred)

Mop Sauce

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Place the pork butt in a foil pan and allow it to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  2. Next, apply yellow mustard, then season pork shoulder generously with our Soul Dust soul food seasoning or your favorite dry rub or seasoning blend. 
  3. Preheat your smoker to 275°F. Once smoker is preheated, add your preferred wood to the firebox or smoker box. 
  4. Place pork shoulder on smoker grate, fat cap side up, to allow the rendered fat to baste the meat as it cooks. Baste with mop sauce every 30 to 45 minutes (recommended).
  5. After pork shoulder reaches about 160° to 165° F, remove it from smoker and wrap tightly in multiple sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil. Then, insert your thermometer probe into the meat and put it back on smoker. 
  6. Once it reaches 200° to 205° F, remove pork butt from smoker and place inside a cooler or oven to let it rest for 30 minutes to one hour. After pork butt has rested, carefully remove the foil.
  7. Wear gloves with cotton liners underneath and use your hands to shred the pork. The meat will still be piping hot, so tender that it easily pulls (falls) apart. You can chop it or leave it in shreds.

Keywords: 10 pound pork shoulder, pulled pork, pork shoulder, pork butt, boston butt, smoked bbq pulled pork

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